The effort to bring together different religious traditions presents particular challenges, but sometimes even getting the members of a single tradition in the same room is even more difficult.
A group of Orthodox clergy in Greece have published a statement labeling Roman Catholics and Protestants as heretics, and calling on the Orthodox church to refuse to recognize their legitimacy and refuse to engage in ecumenical relationships with them.
“This pan-heresy of ecumenism adopts and legalises all heresies as ‘churches’, and insults the dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,” says the group. “All boundaries the fathers set have been torn down; there is no longer a dividing line between heresy and church, between truth and fallacy.”
Although the statement offers harsh criticism of the Roman Catholic church, it is especially harsh in its view of Protestantism, which has “inherited many heresies but also added many more” by misinterpreting the Bible,, rejecting tradition, the veneration of saints, monasticism and sacraments, and tolerating women priests and homosexual marriages.
As one might expect, the statement is also highly critical of what it describes as “an inter-religion syncretism, which equates all other religions to the unique, God-revealed through Christ reverence for God, knowledge of God and the Christ-like way of life.”
Officially, the Greek Orthodox Church is still involved in ecumenical realtionships. A member of the Greek church’s Synodical Committee for Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Christian Relations was quoted as saying:
“As things stand, our church is still participating in the ecumenical movement, with representatives in the World Council of Churches and Conference of European Churches. It is open to serious dialogue with all churches, and it could not do this without contacts with them,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “But everyone has a right in Orthodoxy to express opinions and positions, and there is a strong element here, as in other churches, against ecumenism.”
- A Confession of Faith Against Ecumenism
- Greek clergy circulate document on `heresy of ecumenism’
Ecumenical News International